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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Being shut in during the pandemic, we are assembling a routed track that has been sitting in the attic. In reading about AC2Car systems and David Reinecke's mention of his earlier AC powered track, I became enamored with the notion of prototypical speeds. I even purchased a Lionel LW 125 train transformer that probably produces 90 watts and 5-6 amps, recommended on AC2Car.org. From reading, the motors run a bit hotter, but aren't damaged.

However, the track is a 17'x4' variation of Suzuka that appeared in a 60s era slot cat magazine (actually, it's a variation of that design as I incorporated a long straight as recommended by the author after the fact). It's a conventionally routed track--3 lanes with a squeeze and no lane changing. In addition, we aren't intending to run an AC2Car system with two cars per lane on differing polarities. One car per lane.

I am not an electrician. No one would even hire me to play one on TV. So, I've a few questions that I hope someone experienced with AC or AC2Car systems, or any engineering background can answer.

Can I wire this as one would a D.C., analogue, one car per lane system? AC2Car controller wiring instructions require that the red brake wire NOT be connected. However, if I'm running one car per lane can I ignore these instructions and connect the red wire to retain the brake function?

Second, running a single car, do we need to install the diode in the controller at all, or can we wire up the controller directly with no diode?

Any concerns with reversing switches with AC, or with Track Timing? I'm considering Trakmate or Viasue systems.

Anything else we should consider?

It seems that the AC2Car.org site isn't being updated. That's a shame, but I imagine other priorities emerge over time. They are beautiful tracks.

Thanks in advance for any advice. Photos of my track in progress attached.

Best regards
IMG_0133.JPG IMG_0132.JPG
 

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Greg Gaub
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I wish I could help with the AC stuff. I just wanted to chime in and say that your track is off to a great start. Beautiful routing work, and I can see that it will be very nice once you get it all up and running. I look forward to watching the progress.
 

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I notice in your pic that you have parma controllers, if you look on the box the track wiring is shown if you can understand it,what power are you using 1 transformer per lane or 1 for all 3?, also are you using 3pin 2amp 3pin round sockets, all these questions are relevant to my answer.

1other thing as an aside how/where is the positive rail on your track?, it is a trick question beware.

Zen
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's a Lionel LW 125w transformer. My intention was to use it to power all three lanes. I had inferred from the AC2Car site that anything 90w or more was sufficient. Are your questions regarding 3-pin connectors referring to XLR controllers? The three I have are alligator clips, but I was thinking of cutting the clips and soldering on 3-pin male XLR connectors. They are THE 218-D/45 OHM version. I've yet to buy driver stations, but could go with either clips or XLR, if it makes a difference. I think the XLR just looks cleaner. I've been getting track wiring kit from Slot Car Corners.

This is to be a copper foil track, as you may have guessed by Luf's taping tool in the photo.

As far as I'm aware, there is no positive rail. But as I said, I don't play an electrician . . .

Thanks for any help. IMG_0160.JPG
 

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Old Engineer
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you can use an AC xfmr., but you'll need the appropriately-sized bridge rectifier to make the output into DC. then I'd recommend a large capacitor, say, 50-100,000 microFarads to smooth out the ripple so the motors don't heat up. ideally, you should have a 6A choke/ inductor to go ahead of the large cap, which makes an L-C filter. such parts (including the bridge) can be had from electronic surplus stores, or digi-key, alliedelec or mouser elecronics.

your profile does not say where you are located.
 

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Sir I am sorry am not going to be able to help with as you are in the USA, and I am in blighty, things are different, and I have no idea what the gent above is on about but am sure he MAYBE right in caps as it is not an endorsment,

I am a club racer and here we use 3pin 2amp sockets and small plugs as standard, and this has been so from back in the '60's,I thought that in the USA your country ran on 120 volt DC power as your MAINS domestic supply, here we run 240volt AC as our domestic power!!!, is this right?.

As you said there is no positive rail on the track so you can put a three way three pole switch to change the direction of the track in the circuit

regards

Zen
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to you both. I'll readily admit that @SpeedyNH's recommendations went right over my head, so I'll need to research that. Track reversal was a question I had, so that one is answered. We use 115 AC power here.

Still hoping there is someone on the forum who has run an AC or AC2Car will weigh in. I have time. A little more bench work today, then track section assembly. Cheers
 

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I will try but remember I am in england how will you connect the track to its transformer? in england you have three connections, one is neutral, one is common the other is positive, will check the connections on our track and get back to you.
 

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Rich Dumas
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You would be better off if you forgot about the AC2Car system for now and bought a good 0 to 30 volt variable regulated power supply with a 10 amp rating. Here is an article on power supplies that includes some useful links: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1r_mey6LXg4kmp6sX4U3lU-fDA72pXhfj/view?usp=sharing

Here is the most common way to wire a 1/32nd track.

132124StandardWiring_2.jpg


XLR plugs are the best way to go, all of our tracks have them, they have become the standard for 1/32nd scale club racing in the US. A few of our tracks also have screw post connections for alligator clips and I have an XLR to alligator clip adapter to use at any track that only has screw post connections. If you did not want to make your own adapter Slot Car Corner sells them along with a lot of other track wiring stuff.
 

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Hi Weltmeister
Could I ask what advantage you feel you'll be getting from using ac? It seems a conventional dc system would do all you want - or am I missing something?

AC2Car allows separate control of two cars per lane, it only works on ac. However as you only want one car per lane, the reason for using AC2Car seems to have disappeared which in turn means the reason for using AC also seems to have disappeared.

The AC2Car web site doesn't seem to have been updated since 2013. Several cars per lane are now redily available with digital so perhaps the reason for having AC2Car has disappeared? Of course if there are still any AC2Car enthusuaits who think I've got that wrong, please write in and tell us why

.
 

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@300SLR, I have to confess that it likely stems from a pattern of perverse interests, from analogue stereo to carbureted cars. My wife would probably argue it's simply sheer obstinance.

From reading, AC power provides less torque and more prototypical speeds than D.C., and the motors even growl a bit. That strikes me as cool, provided I'm not burning them up. This track will eventually be landscaped and include 60s era Revell and MRRC scenery. So, the complete visual may be more important to me than most. I understand that you can govern D.C. Systems, however.

@RichD, the article you included is very clear and informative. I've a better understanding of the advice that SpeedyNH provided. Sounds like a single diode is at least required, which provides the half wave rectification that the AC2Car systems rely on. That answers a second question I had proposed. I'm now wondering whether there is any advantage to inverting the lost half of the cycle for full wave rectification, although I don't think my transformer is set up for it and the four diodes begins to get complicated. I get the voltage ripple concern, but the AC2Car guys seemed to view it as negligible. Motors ran hotter, but weren't damaged, so they claim.

Thanks again to all.

IMG_0166.JPG
 

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I domt Think you Can have brakes with ac-power.
If I were you, I would make the dc powered, but make af power an option.

I dont think ac powered cars Will work with a deadstrip, but i Will work with a Light bridge.
 

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I domt Think you Can have brakes with ac-power.
If I were you, I would make the dc powered, but make af power an option.

I dont think ac powered cars Will work with a deadstrip, but I Will work with a Light bridge.
Indeed the diode(s) in the car's wiring prevent brakes working. There's no simple solution to this.
This is claimed as an advantage on the AC2Car web site, but in fact if you want no brakes that can be achieved in a few seconds with a conventional DC system by disconnecting one controller wire.

The AC2 web site includes a schematic for a dead strip lap counter.
 

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Rich Dumas
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If I recall correctly David Reinecke liked the AC2Car system because it made it easier to drive cars that don't have traction magnets or on tracks that don't have magnetic rails. With a regular DC system you can just turn down the voltage, we run our tracks at 10 volts.
 

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Wowee. Take some time off and this rears it's head ;)

First off - great looking track to start! Love the flow and room.

AC Power - almost as fun as arguing politics. While I did migrate the last version of the PDR to DC with 1 adjustable transformer per lane (cheaper than buying two more Lionels!), I and everyone that drove the track actually missed the AC.

Yes, there are no brakes.

Yes, the power comes on differently.

No, it does not feel the same as DC with the voltage reduced.

If I'd not decided to go with three separate power supplies to keep things easier to run ghost cars in my other two lanes, I would not have switched frankly.

Philip - I sent you a PM and we can chat off-line.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Glueing up the track section this weekend. Hampered by a limited number of clamps that only allows two MDF sections at a time. Additional time wasters include pulling out cars and scenery to visualize the final layout and listening to old motorsport LPs. Last night was Nassau Speed Week. The lively drivers meeting with banter between Hill, Moss, De Portago, Shelby and others was fascinating.

Goal is to have the track all together, sans the overpass, by this evening. Set overnight and begin filling and sanding. Elevation changes over the course of the week. What do people recommend for bond/filling putty? I saw one online recommendation for Durham's Water Putty (Strongman label looks straight out of the '50s/'60s, or even earlier. Appropriate for a 60's era track design). Are there other products MDF track builders recommend? I'm also wondering whether something more than a spackling type (epoxy-based filler?) might eliminate the need for reinforcing screws. I will screw the track to the bench and risers. I've gone with the most basic track connecting system--5" wide MDF splints connecting each joint affixed with Gorilla Glue. Bench joists (correct term?) are 24" or less, with a board running from apex to outer edge on turns for slight banking, and radial support for major turns.

Advice needed and welcome.

IMG_0208.JPG
 

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Old Engineer
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not sure what you're looking for here, but when i need to fill in and rerout a slot, if use automotive body filler epoxy, sometimes called "Bondo".

speed
 

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Yes. That's exactly what I'm looking for. I was wondering whether there are certain brands that people preferred that might work better than others on MDF? I need to fill in and smooth the joints and holes when I screw down the track.

Some progress yesterday. I've everything but the overpass together and added an additional set of legs to carry the weight and a couple more joists under turns.

IMG_0213.JPG
 

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Old Engineer
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I just use the generic auto parts store body filler on all types of material, the two-part kind with resin and small tube of hardener. I mix several small batches and put them in one after another. then I wait til the first one just starts to cure, in a rubbery state (Not NH! LOL) and then cut off the excess with a knife. leave a tiny bit sticking up as it will continue to contract. then after it's fully cured, sand (and/or file) the remainder flat with track surface.

if you don't put on a little extra, it might sink below the surface when it cures, forcing you to add some more, so I always leave a nice bead on top and just cut it off as above when it's 3/4 cured. the proportion of catalyst controls the curing time, read the directions and scale down keeping the proportions. it's easy to get the hang of it after a couple small applications.

then you can rout right across it even on a shallow angle or take off in a different direction if you want (as in, going straight in the middle of a corner), just as if it were wood.

if I erred with the router and the slot needs to be narrowed (who, me? never!), I take some thin wood wrapped in wax paper (sometimes laminating up the wood so it'll bend if on a curve), jam that down into the slot all the way to the bottom and force the mud fully down in around it with a tiny stick.

when you're done, take those thin pieces of wood wrapped with sandpaper and a couple flat jeweler's files and go down the slot some where the epoxy changes to wood. you'll be able to fly through there and never know it wasn't routed that way smoothly the first time. when I do it, even better, because now it's been sanded and it doesn't take a thousand laps to break it in. .

but use CAUTION! I've been using this stuff for 40 years anyway, including painting several cars in my younger (sort of) days and on lots of wood tracks, and all except the most modern hardeners will cause irreversible blindness if any splashes into your eyes. wear decent goggles. with the old thin liquid version, every second that you didn't rinse it of your eyes out was another year off your vision. take precautions.

hope all that stuff helps.

speed
 
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